Two leading Senate Judiciary Committee liberals agree there is at least one pro-life conservative they
would endorse as a Supreme Court nominee: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.Sens. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, and Paul Simon, D-Ill., said that during national television shows over the weekend - on which Hatch also appeared - after the announcement that Associate Justice William Brennan has resigned.
Simon said, "President Bush could do worse than nominate Orrin Hatch," on ABC's "Nightline" Friday night. While not exactly a ringing endorsement, Simon said Hatch - who is also a Judiciary Committee member - would likely be confirmed if nominated.
When Metzenbaum was asked Sunday on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley" if he would also endorse Hatch, he said, "I suppose that I probably would."
Meanwhile, liberals have been predicting a "bloodbath" in the committee if Bush nominates anyone else who has taken a clear stand on the abortion issue.
Metzenbaum and Simon said Bush should nominate someone with proven "judicial temperament" who is fair-minded. Apparently, Hatch met that qualification for them.
Hatch, meanwhile, continues to say that he doesn't expect to be nominated and doesn't really want to be - but court watchers say that is also proper etiquette for anyone who really wants the job. Hatch has long said he would not turn down such a nomination if it were offered.
Also, Hatch's more moderate stands in recent years on issues ranging from child care to civil rights for the disabled could only help him if he were nominated. That's because if he were attacked for being too conservative on other topics, he could point to his moderate record on those issues as a sign of open-mindedness and fairness.
While Hatch has been downplaying his own chances, he has been listing a long line of other people he feels would be good nominees, including Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills and Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole.
Other names include Roger Miner, who was appointed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in 1985; James Wilkinson III, appointed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1984; Patrick Higgin-botham, appointed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1982; Pasco Bowman, appointed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1983; and Edith Jones, named to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1985.
The chances of Hatch receiving the nomination have been listed as good by CBS and ABC, but he is listed as only a long shot by the Washington Post and the Washington Times.